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Belgian State bilked of 208 million euros

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The State of Belgium reimbursed over 208 million euros in withholding taxes to foreign pension funds that had no right to the pay-outs, Knack magazine reported. A British court confirmed to the Flemish weekly that one person had been arrested recently under a Belgian investigation into the presumed fraud. The Brussels Office of the Public Prosecutor has been conducting an ... Read More »

Global economic growth “threatened”, departing IMF chief says

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Global economic growth is “fragile” and “threatened”, especially due to trade disputes, the departing Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde said on Thursday in an exclusive interview with AFP. Lagarde urged for increased dialogue between word leaders to attempt to “resolve uncertainties,” referring to the trade war between the USA and China that weighs on global ... Read More »

15 arrested in France and Belgium for cigarette smuggling

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The French Judicial Police (Police Judiciaire), with the support of the Belgian Federal Judicial Police (Police Judiciaire Fédérale) and Europol, swooped on the members of a Russian-speaking organised crime group behind an illegal cigarette smuggling business. As a result of this action day, 15 individuals were arrested, including the ringleaders, and 2 million cigarettes were seized. The stings follows a ... Read More »

Asylum applications in Belgium up 19% in 2018

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A total of 23,443 requests to the Foreign Office for international protection were filed in 2018, an increase of 19% compared to the previous year, according to the annual report of the Commissioner-General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS). Still much lower than the 44,760 recorded in 2015. The CGRS explains last year’s increase in the number of applications being ... Read More »

Drug suspects trapped in container call Antwerp police for help

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Two suspected drug traffickers were forced to call the police on themselves after they were locked in stifling heat in a shipping container packed with cocaine at the port of Antwerp. The two men, aged 24 and 25, had to make an emergency call to the police, during which they said they had been “trapped” while trying to take possession ... Read More »

Sports Direct shares plunge after retailer reveals £605m tax bill

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Sports Direct shares crashed as much as 27 per cent after Mike Ashley’s company revealed a £605m unpaid tax bill for House of Fraser, which it bought out of administration last August. The company’s share price later recovered some lost ground but remained more than 9 per cent down by 9.40am. Sports Direct repeatedly delayed releasing its results on Friday ... Read More »

Orange Belgium revenues up 1.9% in Q2, EBITDA grows 18% as cable business turns positive

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Orange Belgium reported second-quarter revenues up 1.9 percent to EUR 319 million, as 9.6 percent growth in retail services offset lower MVNO revenues. EBITDA jumped 18.2 percent year-on-year to EUR 79 million, helped by cost control and improvements in its growing cable business. The company maintained its outlook for the full year, for a small increase in revenue and flat ... Read More »

Number of illegal residents rises in Belgium, falls in other EU countries

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The number of people found in Belgium without legal residence peaked in 2018, almost reaching migration-crisis figures as it dropped in other EU countries, according to new Europol data reported in local media. While the data shows that Belgium is in the top eight countries in the European Union with the highest number of people without legal residence, the figures ... Read More »

Belgian court rules Belgian laws apply to Ryanair employees based in Belgium

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A Belgian court has ruled that the country’s labour laws apply to Ryanair employees based in the country, in a case that could set a precedent elsewhere in Europe and upholds a 2018 agreement reached between the airline and Belgian unions. A series of strikes in 2018 prompted the Irish airline to agree to apply Belgian law to cabin crew ... Read More »

Banking secrets: 3,600 accounts examined by tax department since 2001

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Belgium’s tax department has already issued 3,600 authorisations for the auditing of taxpayers’ bank accounts since banking secrecy was relaxed in Belgium in 2001, L’Echo and De Tijd reported on Wednesday. Thanks to measures adopted under the Leterme II caretaker government it is now easier to access the bank accounts of a taxpayer suspected of fraud. Since 2011, Belgium’s Inspection ... Read More »

3 Belgian shops made it to the top 50 best sandwiches in Europe

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Global travel site Big 7 Travel has put together a list of the 50 best sandwich spots in Europe of 2019 based on reader’s tips and feedback, and three Belgian shops made the cut. The highest scoring Belgian shop, in 30th place, is Pistolet Original (pictured), in Brussels. The shop makes pistolets, which are simple white bread rolls, and offers ... Read More »

Belgium prepares to implement igaming ad ban

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Belgium’s licensed igaming operators are facing a number of significant restrictions on how they may advertise their offerings, with a package of controls approved in October 2018 coming into force this Saturday (June 1). From June 1, online gaming operators will no longer be permitted to advertise their offerings on Belgian television. This covers A+ and B+ gaming licence holders, ... Read More »

Belgium Begins Accepting Personal Income Tax Returns

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Belgium’s finance ministry confirmed that the Tax-on-web portal has been opened for personal and corporate income tax returns for the 2019 fiscal year. Announcing the launch of filing season, the ministry set out all the relevant changes for this year’s returns in a presentation available on its website. The following deadlines apply for resident individuals: Deadline for the return of ... Read More »

Brussels policemen arrested in large-scale vehicle fraud operation

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Three Brussels police officers were arrested in connection to a massive operation against a car-theft gang conducted throughout Belgium last week, federal law enforcement authorities confirmed. Two of the agents are still being questioned, while an arrest warrant has been issued for the third, the Brussels Federal Prosecutors Office confirmed to La Capital. One officer belongs to the local police ... Read More »

Belgium exports sand to the Middle East

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Everyone knows that little Belgians are the champion of sandcastles, but few people know that in its quarry in Mettet, near Charleroi, Sibelco exploits “the Rolls-Royce of track sand for horseracing tracks around the world, including those in Qatar and Dubai”. Although the Middle East is not exactly lacking in sand, the quality cannot compare with that of the sand ... Read More »

Belgian tax evader eyes Dublin student flats plan

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Didier De Witte, a Belgian millionaire who was this year sentenced to prison for a €1m-plus tax dodge, is behind plans for a 319-bed student accommodation scheme in Dublin. The former chief financial officer of the Cork-based Ditchley Group, Greg McGinn, is acting as an agent for the businessman’s company in Ireland. Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr McGinn conceded ... Read More »

Former Belgian commissioner De Gucht loses appeal against tax ruling

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Karel De Gucht, former federal minister and European commissioner, has lost a legal battle with the tax authorities over what they claimed was tax evasion. The tribunal of first instance in Ghent was ruling on a dispute between De Gucht and his wife Mireille Schreurs on one side, and the tax authorities on the other. De Gucht had claimed tax ... Read More »

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Unit labour costs have reduced during the last two years. Belgium is described as a “strong innovator” and the balance of trade in goods was positive for the first time in seven years. This positive news emerges from the fourth edition of the Dashboard for the Belgian Economy which was published today (Wednesday) by the FPS Economy. The FPS Economy ... Read More »

Belgium tells companies to halt exports to UK after March 29

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Belgium’s customs authority is advising companies that export to the UK to halt shipments after Brexit day to avoid customs chaos in the event of a no-deal scenario. Kristian Vanderwaeren, chief executive of Belgian customs, called for a “Brexitpauze” after 29 March and said firms should do as much of their exporting as they can before new controls have to ... Read More »

Need to demystify India for our investors: Belgian Minister

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Belgian Minister for Digital Agenda, Telecom and Postal Services Philippe De Backer is all for efforts to help demystify India to investors from Belgium, more importantly in the context of the changing geopolitical situation. “We have to look at India. Try to understand what’s going on, what the differences are… many of [the] Belgian companies don’t know. Demystification of India ... Read More »